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Take important steps to make your dream move in Leicester come true

So you’ve found the house of your dreams in Leicester. It’s on the right side of town, near a good school, parks are close by and your commute to work has been cut. Perfect. You know roughly when you’ll be moving and you’ve already started thinking about colour schemes and furniture.

But then…. You’re busy making big plans and you get a call from the solicitor who is handling your purchase. It’s a bombshell – your dream is shattered because the house move has fallen through.

To be honest, it’s heartbreaking. And while it doesn’t happen all the time, it does occur. According to recent research by Quick Move Now, just under a quarter of house sales in England and Wales “fell through” before completion in 2019.

So, it is certainly something to be aware of. But, did you know there are things you can do to help reduce the risk of a house sale falling through?

Four reasons why house sales fall through and what you can do to reduce the risk

1. Gazumping

Gazumping is when you’ve put an offer on a house in the Leicester area, it’s been accepted, but then someone else swoops in and puts in a higher offer. It seems unfair, but it is legal. After all, a seller may see the pound signs so why would they not accept more money?

And, actually, until you’ve exchanged contracts on a property, the deal is not legally binding.

Top Tip: Before you begin the process, take out Home Buyers Insurance. That way, for not a huge sum of money, in the event of being gazumped, you could recoup any costs you have paid out, such as fees for local searches or surveys.

2. Chain Breaker

In many cases, the purchase of your new home requires a chain of people to move out of a property and into another.

This chain can sometimes break, for several reasons. Perhaps a purchase elsewhere has fallen through, perhaps a mortgage offer has expired somewhere along the line, or maybe someone just decided they didn’t want to move.

Top Tip: There is often nothing you can do about a property purchase along the chain, but what you can do is make your link as watertight as possible. Make sure the conveyancers are in place, ensure your mortgage offer is ready and valid and talk to your estate agent to ensure they keep abreast of any potential issues. We do, by the way, and that’s why Leicester buyers and sellers trust us!

3. Finding Funding

When home movers start the process of looking to buy a house, it’s often a head versus heart process. Sometimes, before calculating what funds you have, or even getting a mortgage in principle, you might go and view a property, fall in love with it and then make an offer.

The missing part, of course, is the money. And that is why, although you may think that an offer is going to lead to a sale, it may not.

Top Tip: It may sound simple, but make sure before you accept any offer, that the buyer has funds in place. Ensure that there is evidence of money in the bank or a mortgage in place. These are reasonable questions to ask, and your estate agent and legal team should be making sure it’s all ready to go.

4. Communication Breakdown

Good communication is absolutely key to getting things right and keeping things moving forward. If you stop conversations, then chances are that the process will slow down and deadlines will be missed. In fact, communication breakdown is one of the key causes of house sales falling through.

Top Tip: It’s good to talk, as the old ad says, so make sure that all the parties in your chain are talking, or at least their representatives are. We at Knightsbridge Estate Agents & Valuers pride ourselves on the fact that we are on the case at all times.

We communicate with purchasers and sellers, and keep in contact on the legal side of things too. In fact, we’d say we are the experts in ensuring house sales complete!

Home and Dry

Unfortunately, you cannot guarantee that a house purchase or sale won’t fall through. As we’ve seen, there are a number of reasons why they do. But, there are things you can do to help prevent it.

If you need advice, get it from us in the very early stages of your property move. Call us or email luke.stclair@knightsbridge-estates.co.uk.Quick

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Don’t Be Blinded by Puppy Love in Leicester – Volunteer, Foster or Adopt Instead

Demand for puppies skyrocketed during lockdown, but with furlough ending later this month and the economy struggling, is the reality of pet ownership about to bite? 

Earlier this year, demand for puppies skyrocketed, with Google searches for “Puppies near me” increasing more than six times (by 650%) between January and July.

As a result, the price of popular breeds such Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and Chow Chows shot up.

The asking price for a Dachshund, for example, increased from £973 in March to £1,838 in June (figures from The Dogs Trust).

But what happens when the novelty of owning a puppy wears off? The RSPCAThe Dogs Trust and The Kennel Club have all raised concerns about the number of people who bought four-legged friends on a whim during the lockdown. 

They fear a surge in the number of dogs dumped or abandoned as people struggle to pay for pet food and vet bills or exercise their pooch every day.

The Kennel Club’s Head of Health and Welfare Bill Lambert says: “We have concerns about those puppies which may have been bought on impulse, without owners doing their homework on how or where to get a dog responsibly, or fully realising a puppy is a new family member for life, not a short-term commodity.

These hasty decisions not only play into the hands of the opportunistic scammers and puppy farmers operating during the pandemic – but can also sadly result in puppies being rehomed if owners haven’t carefully considered how their dog will fit their ‘normal’ life.”

Due to this growing concern, the RSPCA has renamed October “Adoptober” (see what they did there?). The campaign urges people who are determined to get a dog to adopt, instead of buy.

By adopting a rescue dog, you will be giving an animal in need a loving home. You will also be able to rest easy in the knowledge that you haven’t fuelled the activities of overseas puppy farmers, who illegally smuggle dogs into the UK and sell them on the internet.

These dogs often have serious health and emotional problems as they are often kept in unhygienic conditions, are in poor health and are removed from their mothers too soon.

Dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines says: “The message here is simple: do lots of research to help find the right pet for your family and don’t impulse buy.”

And if adoption isn’t for you, there are, of course, other ways you can do your bit for the canine community. Many animal charities are looking for people to foster dogs, providing pooches with a temporary residence until they find their “forever home”. 

Or you could consider volunteering your services as a dog walker to various charities around the country. Check out the work of the Cinnamon Trust and The Underdog.

We’d love to see your dog, whether it’s a rescue, fostered, owned, or adopted, so feel free to share photos of your four-legged companion with us here at Knightsbridge Estate Agents.

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Tips for Selling Your Home AFTER the Clocks Go Back

It’s tempting when the clocks go back (as they will do on Sunday morning) to think that it’s all downhill to Christmas but take our word for it: there’s still time to make things happen in 2020.

It’s mid-autumn and nine weeks until Santa visits – too early for us here at Knightsbridge Estate Agents to dust off our Christmas jumpers and reindeer ears. 

If you feel the same way, and recent events have prompted you to re-evaluate where and how you want to live, then there’s no time like the present. 

Autumn can be an excellent time to sell your home, and with the Stamp Duty holiday continuing until 31 March next year, there is a lot of interest in the Leicester property market.

When it comes to selling, some fundamental principles apply all year round: declutter, carry out essential repairs and maintenance and get the price right. 

But there are some specific things you can do now to maximise your chances of a good sale. Here are our top tips.

Viewings – Homes always look best when it is light and bright. As there are fewer hours of sunlight in autumn than summer, arrange viewings in the middle of the day, or on weekends. 

Lighting – Make the most of the natural light by opening curtains and blinds. Replace light bulbs that are on their way out, and add a few bright, warm table lamps. Don’t go overboard – you don’t want your home to look clinical. Aim for a warm, welcoming glow.

Heating – Make sure your home feels like a cosy refuge, not an Arctic igloo, before any potential buyers arrive. If you’re likely to be out before a viewing, use automatic settings to crank the heating up before a visit. And if you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace, make the most of it by lighting it before a viewing. You want viewers to imagine themselves relaxing by the fire with a hot toddy in hand.

Gardening – Sweep up fallen leaves and cut the heads off withered flowers. Add colour and volume to beds by planting winter bedding plants such as pansies, cyclamens and heather; these work well in pots too. Remove leaves from the guttering.

First impressions – Make sure that the first impression viewers get when they enter your home is a good one – you don’t want it to be damp and musty and smell like a PE changing room. Remove wet boots and damp coats from your entrance hall and put them out of sight.

2020 has been a year like no other for the housing market, with everything screeching to a halt with lockdown and then accelerating when the market re-opened. But with interest rates remaining low, and many people reassessing their priorities, it’s likely to remain busy for some time to come.

Here at Knightsbridge Estate Agents, we’re proud to say that in 2020 we’ve helped many people make the next important move in their life. If you’re ready to make a move, get in touch. We’re here to help.

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What Movers in Leicester Need to Know About the Tier System

This week we take a look at what the new tier system means for home sellers and buyers in Leicester.

The tier system announced by the Government last week to combat the increase in Covid-19 cases has caused some concern from home sellers and buyers who are looking to move.

The good news is that it shouldn’t.

This is because even in the highest tiered areas which the Government has said are at very high-risk, people can still move. Albeit with extra safety precautions which we’ve been practising since the lockdown.

In Leicester, we are currently in Tier 2 – which is described as ‘high alert’ and imposes several restrictions including pubs and restaurants shutting at 10 pm and no households mixing indoors.

But even in high alert areas, Government guidelines say you can still move home.

According to a statement on its website on Friday 16 October the Government advised: “You can still move home if you’re in a high alert level area. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work, and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.”

Our priority is your safety. And that’s why we have the following measures in place to allow us to show people properties they are interested in.

Here are six of our Covid-secure steps.

  • We wear masks on all viewings.
  • We wear disposable gloves on each viewing – these are only worn once then recycled.
  • We wear shoe coverings on each viewing.
  • We carry and use hand sanitiser before and after each viewing.
  • We will be the only people to open or touch handles or cupboards.
  • We will wipe down any surfaces touched after the viewing has finished.

Everyone has a part to play in helping us all get back to normal as soon as possible, and we take our responsibility to keep you safe very seriously.

So, we’ll be following the guidelines and updates daily. And we’ll continue to help people move home safely, securely, and successfully.

If you are a seller or buyer in Leicester and have any questions about what the tier system might mean to you, please get in touch.

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Knightsbridge Help Soothe Back to School Anxieties & 2021 Pupils

We have been busy helping local schools with technology to help soothe children’s and parents’ back to school nerves following five months away from the classroom.

We have used the virtual tour software they use to sell and let homes to give a tour of how Sir Jonthan North College classrooms, corridors and communal areas will look for current pupils and those looking to attend in 2021 when they move up from Primary School.

Our Director, Luke St Clair commented “As a parent myself I understand the anxieties and concerns about returning to school. It’s going to look very different, and this can cause more nervousness among children than usual. it is also a great way for Open evenings to be conducted as well!

“So, we decided to use our Matterport software and camera to map the school out in much the same way we would a property we are selling or renting.

“If it soothes the nerves of just one child or parent it’ll be worth doing, we’re just proud to be able to support the community we serve.”

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Will You Start Stopping Bad Habits in Leicester Next Month?

We look at the things people are stopping and starting in October.

2020 will go down in history as the year when life stopped, albeit temporarily.

And with local lockdowns coming into force, that feeling of stop-starting stuff is still around.

It’s a little like the hokey cokey but with stop-start replacing in-out.

This all makes it a little ironic that next month is now synonymous not just with falling leaves and trick or treating, but with people trying to put a stop to bad habits and start healthier new ones.

Stoptober – Stoptober is back for 2020, to encourage the UK’s smokers to try to quit for October and beyond. The NHS has strong evidence that if a smoker can quit for 28 days, they are five times more likely to quit forever.

Sober October – It started out in Australia more than ten years ago and is a way of encouraging people to ditch the booze for 31 days. Many use this challenge to raise money for charity while not lifting a glass of alcohol to their lips.

The multiple health benefits of stopping smoking and cutting down on alcohol seem increasingly attractive as medical experts are urging us all to do things to boost our immune systems.

Non-Stop Property Market in Leicester

From a property perspective, the market hasn’t stopped flying high since the national lockdown ended.

The summer months of July and August are traditionally slower months for the home moving market, but this year there’s been no stopping it.

Whether they’re looking to buy, sell or rent, people are remaining active, and this looks likely to continue until December at the earliest.

Good luck

So, if you are looking to start a new chapter in your life by adopting a positive new habit, ending a negative old one or finding a new place to call home, we wish you well.

We can help with the moving part, but ditching the drink and cigarettes is down to you, good luck.